Karl Stefanovic savages Australian Open player over 'disgusting' act

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Karl Stefanovic has added his voice to the criticism of French tennis player Elliot Benchetrit after he asked a ball girl to peel a banana for him at the Australian Open.

Benchetrit was taking part in qualifying for the first grand slam of the year on Sunday when he requested a banana for some energy.

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However with his hands heavily bandaged due to blisters, he asked the ball girl delivering the banana to peel it for him.

Elliot Benchetrit asked the ball girl to peel the banana for him. Image: Alex Theodoridis/Twitter

It was then that chair umpire John Blom told Benchetrit to peel it himself, prompting the Frenchman to try to open it with his teeth.

Benchetrit was widely condemned for the strange request, and now Stefanovic has piled on.

“That is pretty rank isn’t it, asking a ballgirl to peel a banana?” Stefanovic said on the Today Show on Tuesday.

“Asking a ball-person to do that is disgusting. I think it’s terrible.”

Karl Stefanovic slammed the 'disgusting' act. Image: Today Show

Sydney Morning Herald writer Jessica Irvine agreed, saying ball kids shouldn’t be asked to do such ‘outrageous’ tasks.

“It’s rigorous training to be a ball-person, you’ve got to be very professional, and I really don’t think that peeling bananas is part of the division of labour,” Irvine said.

“If she did it, she should get a pay rise. That is not the point of having ballgirls and ballboys around, their job is to get the ball. That’s outrageous.”

Tennis reporter Lucia Hoffman led the criticism of Benchetrit, while a number of other commentators and fans were a little shocked.

Ash Barty’s brilliant act for ball girl

In complete contrast, Ash Barty produced a wonderful act for a young ball girl on Monday night.

It was only a small gesture, but one that shows why Ash Barty is so adored by the Australian public.

The World No.1 momentarily stopped play on Monday night at the Australian Open when a ball girl suffered an embarrassing tumble on Rod Laver Arena.

About to serve, Barty immediately stopped and asked the ball girl if she was alright before continuing.

The young girl was clearly a bit red-faced as the cameras spotted her reaction, but Barty’s kind act would have surely made up for it.